To Publish Or Not To Publish?

That is the question I have for you…

An ad-supported online publication has asked to use one of my images (which has a non-commercial Creative Commons license).  They specify that no payment will be offered.  Full attribution is given with use and they also will link to my image on flickr (where they found it).  Per their proposed agreement I also retain rights to use the photo in any other ways I wish — I’m not granting them any exclusive rights.

What do you all think?  Go ahead and let them use it, get a little exposure (maybe)? Someday I might care more about generating exposure for myself, but it’s not an issue at this point.  Maybe it’s better *not* to have exposure until I’ve learned quite a bit more and have higher quality to offer?  I don’t care at all about the money at this point.

Or, should I tell them ‘no’ on principle — no payment, no commercial use of any kind (even if readers are getting the content for free)?

Would love to hear your opinions.  Given that I have no axe to grind with this publication (doesn’t bother me that they *ask*) I’m not going to specify who it is.



5 responses

  1. I know its flattering but if its a commercial site then they should pay you; at least that is my stance. Most will but there is set of companies that will just move along until they do find someone who will give away their images for “exposure”.

    But I have given usage of images to charity and non-commercial organizations per the creative commons license. I think that is appropriate and worthwhile based on the organization.

    January 26, 2010 at 10:01 pm

  2. I have yet to publish my first images, so take my comments with that in mind. My thought on it is if it is worth something to the user, it needs to be worth something for you. You need to have a value attached to the image in your own mind, otherwise just let people steal them from Flickr.
    I find it odd that they do not want to pay you a royalty for usage, but they are going to “let” you “retain rights to use the photo in any other ways” that you wish to. In my mind, beggars cannot be choosers. You should be the one to dictate terms, not them. Make ’em pay, I say!

    January 26, 2010 at 10:07 pm

  3. To complete the story, I ended up declining the offer. Thanks for the input!

    February 11, 2010 at 9:58 pm

  4. Chris

    I had a graphic artist email me to use one of my photos in an annual report for a local bank. It was from a group of images from a local contest that paid me $1500 for two shots I captured. I asked if in exchange she would be willing to make a banner for my blog. I got a very terse reply about how she has reached a point where she doesn’t need to barter her services. She wanted free images for a job she was getting paid for but it was unheard of that someone might ask something of her. I’m all about helping non-profits or charities but commercial freebies are out. Attended a lecture and one of the pro photographers said that about the only people that read photo bylines ard other photographers – not neccesarily the audience that most are trying to target with “free exposure.” Just my feelings…

    February 13, 2010 at 7:39 am

  5. Thanks, Chris. These kinds of inputs (I got some privately in email as well) convinced me that any exposure I get is very minimal and effectively these kinds of people are just taking advantage of our photos. Combine that with the fact that exposure isn’t all that relevant to me yet and I decided against it.


    February 13, 2010 at 11:02 am

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